City authorities in Munich, southern Germany, have closed down a kindergarten with immediate effect after discovering it was run by the Church of Scientology, the municipality said.
“The wellbeing of the children in the establishment was under threat because the education process was based on the principles of Scientology,” the municipality said in a statement.
The kindergarten opened last summer and had 18 children looked after by two adults.
The Church of Scientology became the subject of intense debate in Germany last year when Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise, one of its most famous followers, was chosen to play the role of a resistance hero in a film about a failed plot to kill Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Cruise was deemed by many Germans to be unsuitable for the part because of his beliefs. In January, German historian Guido Knopp compared a speech the actor made to fellow Scientologists with a call to war by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.
Seems that despite the ever loudening and aggressive Christian right, the American public is becoming less religious.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – When it comes to religion, more and more U.S. adults either have none or do not identify with a particular church, although the country remains highly religious, a survey said on Monday.
The report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found a constantly shifting landscape of religious loyalties, with the Roman Catholic Church losing more adherents than any other single U.S. religious group.
One in 10 Americans now describes himself as a former Catholic, it found, although that church’s membership is constantly being replenished by immigrants, particularly Latinos.
Despite predictions that the United States would follow Europe’s path toward secularization, the U.S. population “remains highly religious in its beliefs and practices,” the survey concluded.
But John Green, a senior researcher with the Pew Forum, told reporters American religion appears headed for more diversity, with the likelihood the country will be “less Protestant and less Christian” in the future than it is now.
The survey, based on interviews with more than 36,000 U.S. adults, found 78.4 percent of the population identify themselves as Christian. Of U.S. adults in general, it said 51.3 percent were Protestant, 23.9 percent Catholic, 1.7 percent Mormon, 0.7 percent Jehovah’s Witness and less than 0.3 percent each Greek or Russian Orthodox.
“The biggest gains due to changes in religious affiliation have been among those who say they are not affiliated with any particular religious group or tradition,” the survey found.
Hahaha, this was pretty funny, even though it probably wasn’t intended to be.
The re-awakening of atheism in America is going to make for some very interesting times. Leaders of the Christian Right have spent years trying to cast themselves as the voiceless victims in a secular society, but the scapegoating is over. (Want to talk marginalized? How many atheists have there ever been in Congress or the White House?)
Nonbelievers know a lot about Christianity and Judaism, most having been raised in religious families. Believers, however, are somewhat less clued-in about atheists. Here are a few simple truths about who they are, and arenâ€™t.
Atheists are well-behaved. Atheists seem to play well with others overall. Theyâ€™re not in the news for getting caught doing things they tell others not to do. Most co-exist peacefully with believing family and friends. They pay taxes.
Atheists donâ€™t start wars on behalf of atheism. They do join the military, however, and contrary to the clichÃ©, they are found in foxholes. In fact, there is a lawsuit now against Defense Secretary Robert Gates and a major who harassed a group of â€œfoxhole atheistsâ€ who simply wished to exercise their freedom of/from religion while serving their country in the Middle East.
Atheists have a thing for the American Constitution, particularly the First Amendment that separates church and state. They are secularists who support a government free from influence by any religion. Theyâ€™re not anti-religious but nonreligious.
So when people like Mike Huckabee announce they want to â€œtake this nation back for Christâ€ and make the Constitution fit the word of God, atheists worry, and feel that everyone else would be wise to worry along with them.
Atheists donâ€™t take up much space. In fact, they only comprise 0.4 percent of the U.S. population, according to the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey, conducted through the Graduate Center at CUNY. (Agnostics would add 0.5 percent, the nonreligious 14.1 percent more.)
A total of 900,000 people isnâ€™t even enough to fill 10 football stadiums, but evangelical leaders insist the godless are behind the decline of a whole nation. Uh, okay.
Atheists make good neighbors. Chances are, if you lived next door to an atheist, you might never know it. Atheists arenâ€™t known for going door-to-door or shore-to-shore to un-convert people. They will help you even though thereâ€™s no heavenly reward in it for them.
Furious Muslims have heavily criticised Walkers crisps after it emerged that certain varieties of the manufacturer’s products contain trace elements of alcohol.
Some crisp types use minute amounts of alcohol as a chemical agent to extract certain flavours.
The report in Asian newspaper Eastern Eye, highlights concerns raised by shopkeeper Besharat Rehman, who owns a halal supermarket in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
Mr Rehman told the paper: “A customer informed us that Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli and Doritos Chilli Heat Wave are not on Walkers’ alcohol-free list. Our suppliers were unaware of this.
“Even if it is a trace amount of alcohol, Walkers should make it clear on the packaging so that the customer can make an informed choice.
“I feel frustrated and angry. I have let my customers down simply because such a big company like Walkers is not sensitive to Muslim needs.
“Many of them were my daughter’s favourite crisps. As soon as I found out about the alcohol in them, I called home to ask my wife to throw out all the packets.â€
The earth is not only flat, but the sun is smaller than the earth – because the Koran doesn’t say the earth is round.
Best news I’ve read this week.
Freedom from religion in Britain is becoming as important as freedom of religion, according to a United Nations investigation into religion in the UK.
In a 23-page report published this evening, a UN rapporteur claims the 2001 Census findings that nearly 72 per cent of the population is Christian can no longer be regarded as accurate. The report claims that two-thirds of British people now do not admit to any religious adherence.
The report also calls for the disestablishment of the Church of England. The role and privileges of the established Church are challenged because they do not reflect â€œthe religious demography of the country and the rising proportion of other Christian denominations.â€
The report also warns that measures to combat terrorism in Britain could be undermined because of discrimination against Muslims.
According to the report into the freedom of religion and belief in the UK, there is an â€œoverall respect for human rights and their value.â€ But the report warns that Muslims in particular face screening, searches, interrogation and arrest.
Citing research that showed that 80 per cent of Muslims in Britain feel they have been discriminated against, the report singles out the Terrorism Act 200 for particular criticism.
Under the act, police in some areas can stop and search people without having to show reasonable suspicion.
An Israeli MP has blamed parliament’s tolerance of gays for earthquakes that have rocked the Holy Land recently.
Shlomo Benizri, of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas Party, said the tremors had been caused by lawmaking that gave “legitimacy to sodomy”.
Israel decriminalised homosexuality in 1988 and has since passed several laws recognising gay rights.
Two earthquakes shook the region last week and a further four struck in November and December.
Mr Benizri made his comments while addressing a committee of the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, about the country’s readiness for earthquakes.
He called on lawmakers to stop “passing legislation on how to encourage homosexual activity in the state of Israel, which anyway brings about earthquakes”.
Â Here’s a cool list about evolution, putting to rest many incorrect conceptions about it.
15. Evolution is a theory about the origin of life
The theory of evolution primarily deals with the manner in which life has changed after its origin. While science is interested in the origins of life (for example the composition of the primeval sludge from which life might have come) but these are not issues covered in the area of evolution. What is known is that regardless of the start, at some point life began to branch off. Evolution is, therefore, dedicated to the study of those processes.
14. Organisms are always getting better
While it is a fact that natural selection weeds out unhealthy genes from the gene pool, there are many cases where an imperfect organism has survived. Some examples of this are fungi, sharks, crayfish, and mosses – these have all remained essentially the same over a great period of time. These organisms are all sufficiently adapted to their environment to survive without improvement.
Other taxa have changed a lot, but not necessarily for the better. Some creatures have had their environments changed and their adaptations may not be as well suited to their new situation. Fitness is linked to their environment, not to progress.
13. Evolution means that life changed â€˜by chanceâ€™
In fact, natural selection is not random. Many aquatic animals need speed to survive and reproduce – the creatures with that ability are more suited to their environment and are more likely to survive natural selection. In turn, they will produce more offspring with the same traits and the cycle continues. The idea that evolution occurs by chance does not take the entire picture in to account.
Yeah, Me too I feel like killing someone over an editorial cartoon; doesn’t that use of shading just infuriate you? Note to Islamic murdering douchebags: if Allah is that powerful, he can kill whomever he wants and he sure doesn’t need you to help him.
Danish police have arrested three people suspected of planning to attack a cartoonist who drew caricatures satirising the Prophet Muhammad.
Denmark’s intelligence agency said the arrests were made in the western Aarhus region at 0330 GMT “to prevent a murder linked to terrorism”.
Two of the suspects are Tunisian and the third is a Dane of Moroccan origin.
The pictures in Denmark’s biggest daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005 sparked deadly worldwide protests.
The Danish citizen will be released pending further investigation, while the Tunisians will be held until they are expelled from the country, said the Danish intelligence agency PET.
Earlier reports said five people had been arrested.
The intelligence agency said the detentions were made “after lengthy surveillance”.
It did not identify the target of the alleged plot, but the online edition of Jyllands-Posten said its cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, was the focus.
The newspaper, based in Aarhus, said Mr Westergaard, 73, and his 66-year-old wife, Gitte, had been under police protection for the past three months.
In a statement on Jyllands-Posten’s website, Mr Westergaard said: “Of course I fear for my life when the police intelligence service say that some people have concrete plans to kill me.
“But I have turned fear into anger and resentment.”